Favorites on Friday: Conservation Alliance Seattle Tour

  Seattle's Pike Place Market

Last week I had to opportunity to venture north, to Seattle, and visit a number of our member companies.  Seattle is a big city, full of sights, sounds, and a hustle-and-bustle we don't have in Bend, Oregon.  As I negotiated my way through a maze of freeways, only one thought came to mind: "Seattle is a Big City."  Once I got my bearings, I realized it wasn't that big after all, and was impressed at how easy it was to get around; I only wished I was commuting by bike instead of car.

I started off Day One with a stop at Brooks Sports where Conservation Alliance Ambassador, David Kemp, rallied a great group around coffee and pastries to learn more about The Alliance.  I was impressed by the thoughtfulness of the group's questions and had a renewed sense of inspiration as I drove into Seattle's city center to meet with the folks from Outdoor Research.

 Vasque might be home to the largest boot, but I think Brooks is home to the largest running shoe.

Jeff Greenwell, Ambassador for Outdoor Research, helped to arrange for a lunch-time gathering, with pizza, of course, and I presented to a full room of OR employees, including CEO, Dan Nordstrom.  The Conservation Alliance has recently funded a number of projects in Washington, namely the Wild Olympics Campaign and the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Campaign, and it was great to discuss these projects in a bit more detail with people that call these areas their backyard.   After my presentation, Christian Folk, OR's Grassroots Marketing Supervisor, gave me a tour of OR's facility, including the factory that manufactures OR accessories and gloves (right in downtown Seattle) and their onsite climbing wall.

Outdoor Research
Christian sporting his Stanley water bottle with new Conservation Alliance sticker.
The next day, I made a presentation at REI's headquarters in Kent, Washington. REI is a founding member of The Conservation Alliance and I had the privilege of hearing a little bit more about the early days of the organization from former board member and  REI's corporate giving program manager, David Jayo.  REI has a rich history in the outdoor industry and I was impressed by the way this legacy is celebrated around their corporate headquarters and among the staff.
My next two meetings took me back downtown, where I met with Cascade Designs and delivered a presentation to Filson Outdoor Clothing employees.  Both companies, located just a few miles from one another, manufacture products on-sight.
Ever wonder how many little pieces are needed for your MSR DragonFly stove to operate?  I don't know the answer, but just walking through the Cascade Designs factory and seeing all the machinery needed to manufacture the parts and then construct the stove gave me a new-found appreciation for my morning coffee in backcountry.
Filson has a retail store below their offices and from the windows of the store, you can look right into the space where garments are being cut and sewed.   Filson has been located in Seattle since 1897, when the company was started by C.C. Filson, to outfit Klondike gold-seekers.
The Filson store merchandising speaks novels about their commitment to history and quality.

Visiting our members is one of the most inspiring parts of my job.  We are all part of the Outdoor Industry; a collective voice that, when used together, can make a difference.  I am proud and honored to work with people that have made a concious decision to be part of this voice – and together, we are making a difference.